Punjab Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is at loggerheads with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, was learnt to be missing from the Cabinet meeting on Thursday.
This was the first meeting of the Cabinet after the Lok Sabha elections.
Crucial decisions, including changes in Cabinet portfolios, are likely to be taken at the meeting, presided over by Amarinder Singh.
After making his absence felt, Sidhu reiterated his statement that he and his department has been unfairly singled out for the poor performance of the Congress in the urban areas.
“Urban seats had a pivotal role in Congress party’s win in Lok Sabha elections in the state. Chief Minister gave me the responsibility of two districts in Punjab. We won big in these two districts,” news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
He further said the loss was a collective responsibility but his department has been singled out publicly.
“One must have the ability to see things in the right perspective. I cannot be taken for granted. I have been a performer throughout. I am answerable to the people of Punjab,” he added.
Days after Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh blamed Navjot Singh Sidhu’s inept handling of the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the poor performance of the Congress in the urban areas, the Congress leader hit back saying he has been unfairly “singled out” for the party’s poor show.
The war of words between the Chief Minister and his Local Bodies Minister intensified when Amarinder Singh blamed Sidhu for party’s poor performance in the state’s urban areas and said his actions during the parliamentary elections had not only harmed him but also Rahul Gandhi.
The cause of provocation was Sidhu’s controversial remarks on sacrilege issue as well as blaming the Chief Minister for denial of party ticket to his wife from Chandigarh.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh last week said he intended to change the minister’s portfolio.